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Check the headlines above for quite different views on a very similar activity. In Ephrata, Pennsylvania a firefighter using fire equipment and fellow firefighters as part of his marriage proposal is said to have melted hearts. In Queensbury, New York the use of a rig and firefighters to pop the question five days earlier has become controversial after a town supervisor questions the propriety and potential liability..
Two days before Christmas, two fire trucks pulled into Lake George Plaza on Route 9 with emergency lights flashing. Firefighters told Emily Murray and the other employees in her store to leave the building.
When the workers stepped outside, they realized the store was not on fire. The evacuation was actually an elaborate ruse. A moment later, West Glens Falls volunteer firefighter Kevin Bruster asked Murray to marry him. She said yes.
Town Supervisor Ron Montesi told NewsChannel 13 he is happy for the couple, but he questioned the use of fire department equipment and personnel – and the insurance liability – of the proposal.
"Is it good judgment? I would say no," Montesi said Tuesday. "People will look at that and say, 'Taxpayer money doing something like that? What if they were in an accident? What if we needed them for a fire?'"
Bruster and Murray did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday. West Glens Falls Volunteer Fire Chief Mike Gordon did not return a phone call, but he spoke to NewsChannel 13’s media partners at the Post Star earlier this week.
"I stand by what I did in this situation," Chief Gordon told the newspaper in a story published Tuesday morning. "If a taxpayer has any concerns, they should contact me. I have an open door policy."
Ephrata Pioneer Fire Company firefighter Cameron Hildebrand didn't want to propose to his girlfriend, Kayleigh Peterson, the usual way.
"I didn't want to do the same old, out for supper, ring and food. I wanted to do something out of the ordinary," he said Monday.
Boy, did he. You could call it the three-alarm proposal.
While Peterson was sleeping over at his parents' house Saturday morning, about a dozen of his fellow firefighters arrived with a ladder truck.
They ran a smoke machine inside the house to set off the smoke alarms. Two firefighters went to the second-floor back bedroom, where Peterson was just awakening.
They took her out a front-room window, got her into the ladder truck's bucket and lowered her to the ground.
Hildebrand then came out from behind a truck, got down on a knee and proposed.
She said yes.